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Prime-Time Flicks

August 14, 1994|Kevin Thomas

The 1992 TV movie The Secret (CBS Sunday at 9 p.m.) stars Kirk Douglas as the proprietor of a Cape Cod general store coping with the self-imposed stigma of dyslexia. It's a film marked by multilayered family relationships, a vivid sense of place and a vulnerable performance by Douglas.

Fans of the 1984 mega-hit comedy "Ghostbusters" were able to breathe a little easier when the spiffy sequel Ghostbusters II (ABC Sunday at 9 p.m.) came out in the summer of 1989. The filmmakers lost none of the edge and were able to bring back all of the original stars--Sigourney Weaver, Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Dan Aykroyd and Ernie Hudson, who this time combat a massive attack of slime caused by all the negative energy in Manhattan.

Although the 1989 Licence to Kill (KTTV Monday at 7:30 p.m.) milks the usual James Bond formula of sex, violence and exotic locales, the film's overall tone is more burnished and somber as it sends the then-new OO7, Timothy Dalton, on a desperate one-man vendetta against a South American cocaine czar (Robert Davi).

The 1989 TV movie of Agatha Christie's early The Man in the Brown Suit (KCOP Thursday at 8 p.m.) has been Americanized and updated to the present, yet the adaptation leaves Christie's twists and turns fairly intact and makes for pleasant viewing. Escapist fare with an international touch, it has an enjoyable cast that makes it worthwhile, especially Stefanie Zimbalist as the adventure-hungry heroine who witnesses a death while touring Egypt.

In The Final Countdown (KTTV Saturday at 6 p.m.), the aircraft carrier Nimitz, skippered by Kirk Douglas, zips 40 years across time to intercept the Japanese war fleet en route to Pearl Harbor. Curiously, the special effects are the weakest aspect of this 1980 release, but it gets by on the cleverness of its story, directed in straightforward fashion by Don Taylor.

Paul Schrader's underrated 1980 American Gigolo (KCOP Saturday at 6 p.m.) is a stunning, high-style study of a handsome young man (Richard Gere) who lives off women. Schrader resolves the film's thriller plot with a daring, unexpected act of spiritual redemption in homage to one of his heroes, austere French director Robert Bresson.

The 1975 Night Moves (KCOP Saturda at 8 p.m.), also underrated, is a stylish Chandleresque detective mystery. The investigation of a murder by a tough yet vulnerable private eye (Gene Hackman) becomes a quest for his own identity and a pursuit of truth that cuts through many layers of Southern California social strata and ends with a wry sense of irony.

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